The Between These Walls blog tour is underway! Thanks to The Dark Phantom, where I had the privilege of stopping for an interview.
Never give up!
Today's Playlist: "God Only Knows" by the Beach Boys (Perhaps the most perfect song ever written!)
Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Between These Walls. What was your inspiration for it?
A: A few years ago, I caught a television news story about a high school student who had endured an onslaught of bullying because he was gay. He was on the verge of suicide—tired, desperate, filled with pain. The news story centered around a video the student had posted online. In the video, the only way he could bring himself to express his hurt was to page through words he’d written in black marker on sheets of paper. Here sat a kid who looked like an average high school freshman, wiping tears from his eyes, seeking someone to hear his cry for help.
My heart broke for that kid. I’ve never met him and don’t know if he’s alive today. But I’ll never forget him. I thought to myself, “Nobody that age should know what it’s like to feel that kind of pain.” A high-level concept for Between These Walls already resided in the back of my mind, but the heartbreak I felt for that kid became my catalyst for action. That evening, I resolved to pursue Between These Walls.
Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist.
A: Hunter Carlisle is a Christian who harbors a secret attraction to other men. I believe a lot of individuals wrestle in that way but never tell a soul. And oftentimes, in the church world, same-sex attraction is a taboo subject, or at least an unspoken one, which creates a vacuum of isolation and pain where it shouldn’t. In Between These Walls, I wanted to examine the tug-of-war Hunter might endure in his soul as he finds himself at the crossroads of sexual identity and faith.
Q: How was your creative process like during the writing of this book and how long did it take you to complete it? Did you face any bumps along the way?
A: It took me about 5 months to write the first draft, then another 5 months for the revision process. Prior to that, I underwent my usual research and planning phase. A typical novel takes me about 18 months, and Between These Walls fell within that window. That said, I think my speed has increased, because this book is much longer than my prior books.
I’ve approached each book differently. I wouldn’t call this a bump along the way, but I started writing Between These Walls about halfway through my planning process. I couldn’t stand the wait any longer and wanted to take advantage of that fervor. Due to my own vulnerabilities and work habits, however, I need a framework in place before I write. It prevents me from abandoning projects. So about halfway through my novel, I had to stop writing the first draft, map out the remainder of the novel, then resume writing.Continue Reading